Friday, August 12, 2011

I MISS Thailand!!

So for the first few months of this summer I have been over in Thailand working with the amazing Thai people and the wonderful volunteers on my team. We each were working on a few different projects trying to help the people and were each hoping to leave a sustainable difference there in the country before we left. One of the projects I worked on was helping to film and edit a video of the DEPDC school I had been working at. These kids are so full of light and willingness to learn! I looked forward to seeing their little faces and huge smiles everyday and miss them! These children are at a very high risk of being trafficked and the school has not only become a place for education.. but also a haven for these young kids to come and be safe.  
Below is the video...


Friday, June 17, 2011

I Will miss Thailand! Sooo much! Too much..

   Today I sat and reflected as I read over my journal of my experience here in Thailand.. I can not believe this is real life! I have had the most unbelievable experience and coming out here has been HANDS DOWN, BAR NONE, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, one of the best decisions I have ever made! I will never forget the sweet Thai people. It is crazy how much love you can feel for people that you can not even communicate with through words but only through hand gestures. I love America but now as I head home I can't help but think about all the things I'm going to miss about Thailand....

   I'm going to miss hearing the motor bike rumble up at dinner time and wondering outside to see what dinner "surprise" Dr. Blue has brought for us.. 

I am going to miss walking outside and seeing Carl's smiling face waving from the song tow...

I'm going to miss walking to the chicken hut and them making my food without even having to order...

I'm going to miss getting THE BEST strawberry pineapple smoothie everyday from the sweetest smoothie man in the world...

I'm going to miss being able to get a 2 hour massage for $7.00...

I'm going to miss seeing the Thai people's faces when I think I have finally mastered a phrase but they still laugh at me when I say it...

I'm going to miss Hudson's face when he has to translate for Sister Adams in Relief Society..

I'm going to miss that little branch and seeing Sister Bow asking someone for a back tickle every Sunday...

I'm going to miss being able to walk down the street and get a Roti.. or maybe two.. or three :/ .. any night I want..

I'm going to miss getting entertainment out of the wild life around me.. whether it's frogs in Jaimie's bed or cheering on the geckos outside when they sneak up and eat a big bug off the wall..

I'm going to miss going to the bathroom and taking a shower at the same time.. OK just kidding I never did that.. but I'm going to miss having the option..

I'm going to miss being able to have THE BEST fresh fruit in the mornings for breakfast...

I'm going to miss not having to blow dry or do my hair...

Never thought I'd miss this.. but I'm going to miss my hard mattress on the floor having pillow talk with my favorite girls...

I'm going to miss being able to jump on the back of motorbike taxi..(shoot just when I had mastered no hands!)

I'm going to REALLY miss getting off that bus after two hours and hearing all the kids yell my name "CoCO CoCO!" Makes those two hours totally worth it..

I'm going to miss those little kids more than anything! Their little smiles and eagerness to learn... I'm going to miss hearing their little voices start to sing "Hello Hello" when I walk into the classroom...
I'm totally getting mauled in this picture.. dangit Toyee
I'm going to miss doing the conversions of bahts to dollars and realizing how cheap something is...

I'm going to miss seeing Krystal's face light up when English man Jamie walks into the room...

I could go on all day! But honestly, the thing I'm going to miss most... the thing that has totally made my whole Thailand experience a complete one.. that thing is my "Thailand family"

I'm going to miss Katie…
Don't mind our awkward pose you can't touch the monks.
   Katie is probably one of the sweetest people I have met in my entire life! She has the sweetest little voice and if i hadn't heard her yell in her sleep the other night I would argue it wasn't possible for her to raise her voice. Someday when she is on the general relief society board I will not be surprised at all. She is someone you could depend on and would never let you down (even when it comes to music..she has great taste). Katie added a kindness factor to our group that no one else would be able to duplicate or fill. She would put anyone before herself and even saved Rachel's life when they crashed on the motorbike ;)

I'm going to miss Krystal…

   Krissy!!! Krystal is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. She has been all over the world and knows lots about the world. She could sit a research different things all day just soaking it all in like a sponge. She uses words that are over my head but always takes the time to explain them to me when I give her a confused look. Krystal will command and conquer any situation.. any brainstorming, project planning, or group discussion meeting Krystal was probably behind making it happen. Krystal also has a lighthearted goofy side and can make me laugh so hard.. "What kind of knot not do you want?" "What kind of knots do you know??" She always laughs at my jokes no matter how dumb they are.. and I appreciate that. I always thought Krystal was in love with DEPDC the school and that's why she always wanted to be there but as time went on I realized it wasn't just the school but it might also have to do with Jamie..Jamie Houston International Volunteer Coordinator (official title) ;)

I'm going to miss Jordan…

Jordan is by far one of my favorites! Jordan is the one who kept it real in the group. Whenever the girls would start to exaggerate or maybe start to tell a story that might be a little unrealistic it wasn't long before you would hear "No No No... guyyys No No" Jordan is hilarious and has a quick whit. Jordan has a big huge heart and even shared his coveted Swedish fish with everyone. He is super smart on computers and because of him I now know how to get unlimited amounts of music and movies for free! Jordan is also safe diver on the scooter and I'm glad otherwise we would have never made it on our first date. ;)

I'm going to miss Karley…

Karley is so sweet and giving. The projects I worked on in Thailand wouldn't have been possible without her being so willing to give out her camera every single day. Karley has a way of talking to people making them feel comfortable. She often finds people telling her their whole life story in a matter of minutes of meeting her. She is always willing to share and was always offering me beef jerky or cliff bars whenever i mentioned I was hungry. Karley is very friendly to everyone she meets and has quickly become a favorite of wave two. She has guts not too many people can say they have fought a complete stranger in a foreign country! ;)

I'm going to miss Todd..

   Oh Todd.. Sweet Todd. Todd is honestly one of the nicest most thoughtful people I have ever met. He is always putting everyone before himself, like always making sure everyone has ice and a cup before he even has had a chance to sit down. Todd was voted most loved of our entire group. Todd has the craziest stories and has/had the weirdest things happen to him. Todd is one of those people you just want to give a big hug to every time you see him.. Todd is also a tease like to put Little lizards in our rooms and under the doors.. Todd would no longer sit my left hand side when playing cards and I haven't beat him since.. dang.  Thai women love him.. especially the older ladies. Todd has added lots to my Thai experience and taught me so much.. reindeer are real!

I'm going to miss Rachel..

     Rachel is my girl!  Rachel is born and ready to be a mother. Sweet mother Theresa.. or MT as I call her is prepared for anything and everything. Rachel came with the packing list they gave us completely checked off.. even down to the work gloves. :) She has taken on the mom roll in rubbing our bug bites with wipes, sharing her suitcase full of fruit snacks, and tickling my back when I was car sick. Rachel has a way of making people around her feel at ease.. she is just herself and I love that about her. I love Rachel's sarcastic humor and quick whit. She has a way of putting thoughts into words that I'm jealous of.. she uses tons of details and adds a perfect description in the way she talks and writes that makes you feel like you were actually there even when you weren't. Rachel is one of my favorite people and it was easy to just be myself right away with her. I get her jokes and she gets mine. Next June Rachel will owe me $50. ;)

I'm going to miss Taylee..
I love Taylee Garn so much! The more I got to know Taylee the more I realized how much we were similar in a lot of ways.. same major.. same number of brothers.. both work in a wedding videography.. and want to travel the same places! Instant love. Taylee has a love for  life and adventure that is contagious. Taylee has an easy going nature and it takes a lot to make her feel awkward.. Taylee is the best editing partner so easy to work with. I could see a business in our future.. TayLEE and CoCO videography?? Taylee takes life head on and is not afraid of taking chances. I love Taylee's sense of humor, her little exaggerations, and made up close sounding words. Best travel buddy ever.. we will do our one month plan.. and we will be friends forever.

I'm going to miss Jamie...
JaiMEE! Jamie is the best! Jamie was the best teaching companion a girl could ever ask for! Planning lessons with Jamie is a breeze! I love that Jamie doesn't try and sugar coat anything.. she is completely herself all the time no matter who is around.. and I love that about her. Jaimie is one of those people I could hang out with every.. single.. day and never get sick of her. She is beautiful on the inside and out. She is a loyal friend and will always have your back. She has the cutest dainty little laugh that I love and someday when we travel to Peru and live together we will make sure to always have the cupboards stock full of the crunchiest peanut butter.. it's necessary. ;)

I'm going to miss Hudson...
HudDee! Hudson is by far one of my faves! Hudson is a great country director.. at first I thought Hudson was going to be kind of awkward and be strict by the book.. but as I got know Hudson over this wave I realized (even though I hate to admit it) my impressions of people aren't always dead on. Hudson is one of the funniest people I have ever met.. he won't ever be the center of attention kind of funny, but the more quiet sly whitest comments that will make you die laughing if you over hear them kind of funny. Hudson's love language is definitely service..;) Hudson is always worrying about everyone but himself and would easily give up his own plans to someone Else's if he knew that it would make them happy. I think Hudson and I think the phrase definitely fits, "I want to be your friend a little bit more.."

I'm going to miss Dave.. 

 And last but not least we have Dave.. our other country director. I love Dave! Dave is quite possibly one of the funniest, craziest people I have ever met in my life. He can make the most simple story so entertaining and you never know what he is going to say next. Dave is a ball full of energy and has the best laugh of anyone I have ever heard. When he laughs it is IMPOSSIBLE not to laugh too. Dave is not only funny but he is so smart and retains all kinds of information about everything. I name a topic..  and Dave knows it. By throwing out one word to Dave we could all sit and listen to him just say words and be completely entertained. Dave is great with kids and I always wonder what he is saying the those little Thai children to get them laughing so hard. (coco looks funny today doesn't she..) Dave has a kind a genuine heart and would literally give you the shirt off of his back.. or he would happily "hold ya with his strong arms" ;)

Miss the Ricks too!

All together we form are sweet little family! I will miss you all!

I love these people so much! I'm so happy I came out to Thailand and got the privilege of getting to know everyone on the team. I'm going to miss coming home and hearing how every one's days went. I'm going to miss all sitting around playing naked Indian/son of a gun/ castles. My experience was what it was because of these guys! Team Thailand Forever! <3

Monday, June 13, 2011

DEPDC the place I LOVE to be!

This is a video we have been working on here in Thailand! Love these little kids! They are in need of some funding! If you visit their website and donate whatever you can, I can honestly say your money will be going to something truly worth while!

"Phi Phi.. don't you mean Pee Pee?.."

    Hello from the land of Thai! This last weekend we had the opportunity to leave our sweet home Chiang Rai and travel down south to Phuket and the Phi Phi islands!
 It was honestly too much fun and sometimes I feel guilty by how much of a blast it's been over here. We really do live the motto work hard and play hard... and I'm going to be so sad when the day comes I have to head back to America.. back to real life.

Love this girl 

Down South we had lots of adventures! The Phi Phi Islands were so unbelievably cool! They are a cluster of islands that you are unable to fly to but have to get to by boat. Once on the islands there are no cars and motorbikes or even roads! It looked like this jungle town with hostels up in the trees..

The water was perfectly clear and warm.. it was honestly like no place I have ever been in my life!

It was my dream place! There were monkeys just walking the streets as pets

We went Scuba diving! I am officially obsessed and getting certified has been moved to the top of my list of things to do!

Phi Phi Islands so fun!

Then we were off to Phuket!  
We took the boat back early in the morning and when we got there we all rented scooters to ride around.

We took the scooters and rode up to see the Big Buddha  up this mountain riding through these green jungle hills

After seeing the seeing the big Buddha we all paired up on the motor bikes to head over to see a lookout sunset. I was with Jordan and we ended up getting a little lost from the group. We are the only two people in the group that haven't purchased cell phones so we were probably a bad combo.. we ended up having our own adventure.

The next morning half of our group left on an early flight and half of us wanted to stay one more day at the beach. Taylee and I were waiting to meet up with the other girls and decided to be brave and go grab Thai lunch by ourselves.. BAD IDEA we ended up with a table of food like this...

We were so tired by the time we got home.. never been so excited to see those rock hard mattresses we sleep on!  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sex Trafficking...Big Problem

Here in Thailand sex trafficking has been/ become a serious issue! We have been working closely with DEPDC trying to help prevent this issue.. some people in this world are seriously SO sick.. The demand for little boys has been increasing over the years and it's not just the girls being trafficked anymore... Watch this

Even the little boys are at risk...

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Hello Class! Hello CoCo!"

Things here in Thailand have been running very smoothly especially now since we have all of our projects rolling and we, as a team, are extremely busy very day! I have been spending most of my time over at DEPDC like I have mentioned before. I'm working on filming and putting together a video for their website. The video will also be used in presentations when visiting English speaking countries helping to spread awareness of human trafficking and also to better inform the world what it is that DEPDC is all about.
I am also team teaching a Kindergarten class there once a week with Jamie.. (one of my roommates I love her)

We leave every morning at 6:30 am and ride on this bad boy for two hours to get to our little kindergartners.. but it's worth it! 

These kids are absolute DOLLS. I love them all  so much and they are so stinkin smart! Their ages range from 6 to 15 in this kindergarten class because some speak Burmese and some speak Thai..They are all learning Thai and whatever English we teach them. Sometimes I feel bad for the little kiddos as they stare up at me and have NO idea what I'm trying to say but as soon as we start activities and we lead by example, they all quickly catch on. 

Sometimes though, I think the people here in Thailand are little backwards.. Jamie and I were in the middle of our lesson this last Tuesday when out of the middle of NO WHERE SMOKE EVERYWHERE!
They decided that it was a good idea to shoot deet EVERYWHERE to fumigate for mosquitoes.. don't worry about our lungs or the the little lungs of our kindergartners.. 

I think I probably scared the kids even more than they were already were.. My country director Dave and I were like "RUN!" We were the first ones out followed by the children.. 

The kids here in Thailand.. well i guess I shouldn't say kids.. EVERYONE here in Thailand has a hard time saying my name. 
I say "CourT-NEY" 
they say "COR-Y" or "CorN-y" 
I try again "COURT-NEY"
They say "Co Co"
So it's official my name here in Thailand has become Coco. haha

But with all the work we do we still find time to go see cool things on the weekends and usually end the week with a little American food.. ;)

This last week we had a chance to go visit the white temple here in Chiang Rai! SO COOL!

The Girls!!


After visiting the white temple we headed over to the black temple to do a little compare and contrast and tap into our sophisticated philosophical sides. 

This guy was the designer of the black temple..when he spoke I felt like I needed to listen.. He looked very wise.


The Snake!
                       We thought we were being so brave climbing in the snake cage..
(even though we were still like 5 feet away haha)

I hate snakes.. this was terrifying. Some of the people in my group picked up the snake but this is as close as I would get!

We also celebrated Rachel Rick's birthday! We walked around the night walking street, got 2 hour massages, AND  had our own real life "Tangled" moment and lit off lanterns!!!

That's my little lantern all the way up there! 

I'm so grateful for my opportunity to be here in Thailand! I'm loving every minute of it!!